As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, members of the comics industry both in the U.S. and abroad have come up with a number of initiatives to support the Ukrainian people.

Mark Siegel, Editorial Director of First Second Books (as well as an author and artist in his own right) has set up a fund-raiser on Spotfund to support Irbis Comics, a Ukrainian publisher of comics and graphic novels for young people. Irbis has been donating Ukrainian-language comics to children displaced by the war, but it’s a small publisher and needs help to both stay in business and continue making donations. As Siegel points out, “The Ukrainian publishing industry, along with its free press, were targets of Putin's war machine long before the invasion. Supporting our colleagues and comics friends in Ukraine can contribute to Ukraine's future, now in such delicate balance.”

Humanoids announced it will donate a portion of the proceeds from Makhno: Ukrainian Freedom Fighter, which they released this week under their Life Drawn imprint, to the Ukrainian nonprofit Rakom, which provides medical and humanitarian aid to those on the front lines. The book is a graphic biography of Ukrainian revolutionary Nestor Makhno, who fought against both the Russians and the Germans in the early 20th century.

Ukrainian artist Vlad Legostaev has created variant covers for issues #13 and 14 of Declan Shalvey and Rory McConville’s Image series Time Before Time; the proceeds from those covers will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross. 

At the Bologna Book Fair, Ruslana Koropetska, Editor in Chief of Lviv-based UA Comix has been discussing licensing deals and accepting the good wishes of fellow attendees; she was able to attend the fair only because she happened to be in the Netherlands when Russia invaded Ukraine. “My colleagues for the most part are safe—or as safe and OK as they can be in the circumstances,” she told The Bookseller in a story published on March 22. “We have a lot of stock in the U.S., but a lot of it is in a warehouse in Kyiv, which is safe as of today. But that could change tomorrow.” 

CEOs of 12 Ukrainian comics publishers, and staff from two more, have signed an open letter on the UA Geek website calling on the rest of the comics world to cut ties with Russia, by refusing to allow their comics to be licensed or sold in Russia, do work for Russian publishers, or take part in Russian events. The letter was also signed by over 100 writers, artists, editors, and translators and 225 readers.

In addition, Publishers Weekly reports that directors of international book fairs in Bologna, Bogota, Brussels, Budapest, Frankfurt, Gothenburg, Guadalajara, Jerusalem, Leipzig, Prague, Sao Paulo, Seoul, Taipei, and Warsaw, have signed a letter denouncing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and pledging to cut ties with Russian state institutions and allow Ukrainian publishers to exhibit in their fairs at no cost.